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WinXP filesystem issues:security, permissions, ownership etc

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WinXP filesystem issues:security, permissions, ownership etc

Postby dodecahedron on Mon Dec 01, 2003 4:15 pm

OK i'm a jackass... :o

i installed the latest VIA 4in1 drivers, and they turned out to be buggy.
you can read more about it here.
anyway, my problems since were'nt that bad really, not like some other poor souls who got their hard-drives' contents messed up. the only problem (AFAIK) that i had was Windows would hang at the "Saving your settings" stage at every shutdown/reboot.

i though i'd try this feature of WinXP, that "fixes" the OS or corrupt files anyway. you boot with the WinXP CD in, when you get the option to Install or Recovery Console you don't choose the recovery console but Install, and at a later menu it gives you an option to fix windows rather than install.

well, apparently i was careless, clicked Next once too many :o and got the WinXP installation going... :x

OK i'm not a total moron and i didn't select before to have my partitions erased, so it just installed WinXP over the previous WinXP.

so far things seem generally OK and i can access most of the files that i had on the hard drive before. but here's the big problem:

when installing WinXP it created a new Administrator account and a new user account. but i can't get to the My Documents of the old user account.
in E:\Documents and Settings there are 2 Administrator accounts, 2 All Users accounts and 2 Default User accounts (1 named Administrator, the second Administrator.ANCALAGON likewise the other 2). presumably one from the new istallation one from the old. i also have the one new user account and one old user account.
but: when i click on the old user account folder E:\Documents and Settings\oldusername i get this error message:
"E:\Documents and Settings\oldusername is not accessible. Access is denied".
so i can't get to the files of the old account, which includes My Documents, Favorites (most improtant ones).
damn, i can click on all the folders in E:\Documents and Settings except for the one i really want! :x

i am doing this from the new user account, and this is of course an accound with Administrator privileges.

how do i get into that folder?
any suggestions? workabouts?
some Windows guru out there help me out please!

BTW, right clicking -> properties works, i get 0 bytes 0 files 0 folders. so it's possible that it's all gone, but i'm not sure i should trust these properties.


another question:
evidently in the install of new XP the (old) registry got wiped out. however, E:\Program Files is still intact. i ran Nero (found the nero.exe and executed it) and it worked (did ask me for the serial key again though)! and afterwards there were entries in the registry...
do you think i can trust this Nero, or should i simply delete the Program Files\Ahead folder and re-install?
Acrobat didn't work, burnatonce didn't work. didn'tr try any others.
so can i trust a program that is willing to run or not and reinstall everything?
<grr...surfing now without firewall or antivirus...not going to use email untill i set things up properly again>

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sorry for the long post, any input welcome.
thanks in advance.

_________________________________________
EDIT: topic title change to better reflect contents.
Last edited by dodecahedron on Sun Dec 07, 2003 8:54 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Postby Wolo on Mon Dec 01, 2003 7:01 pm

Have you tried granting yourself permissions on the folder? I'm not sure if the system will let you, but it's worth a try:

In Windows Explorer, right-click on the problematic folder and choose Properties.
Click the Security tab and look for your new user account in the list of groups/users.
If it's not listed, click the Add button and then type the fully-qualified username (computername\username) and hit enter.
Once it's listed, highlight it and click the Allow box under Full Control.

Try to access the folder.

If you have problems, you might have to "take ownership" of the entire folder, first. Give this a try:

In Windows Explorer, right-click on the problematic folder and choose Properties.
Click the Security tab and then click Advanced.
Click the Owner tab.
Hopefully, you'll see your new Administator account listed in the selection box! If so, highlight the account, check the "Replace owner on sucontainers and objects".
Click Apply.

From this point, you should be able to go back and modify the permissions on the folder.

Good luck!

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missing my documents folder

Postby robertb on Mon Dec 01, 2003 10:52 pm

Here is something else maybe to try
I'm still scratching around with Windows 98 first edition but on the few times that I experimented with XP I noticed that if you type "command" after start/run you can perhaps steer your way towards the mydocu~1 folder and see if it is still there and if anything is in it.
Also another thought what about booting up using an emegency floppy boot disk (I found my old Windows 98 disk works for XP ) and at the dos prompt you can again steer your way to the my documents folder and see if there is anything in it and if you can access it.Since you are operating outside XP I guess it cannot stop your access.
If for example the properties on the folder are marked hidden you could also change the properties of the folder from the dos prompt ( I think the command is Attrib.exe ..or something like that) which would be on your floppy boot disk.
Now if you are in dos and you can access my documents folder then there are a few utilities such as Norton ghost which would enable you to copy the contents of your My documents folder to another computer or to your CD RW drive from dos mode.
Also maybe I missed the thread somewhere but I keep wondering why it is E:\ drive. Is all your old Xp setup still on the E:\ drive and the new setup on the C:\ drive ?
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Postby cfitz on Tue Dec 02, 2003 1:14 am

Wolo has given you the answer, I think, particularly the need to take ownership before being able to access the files/folders and reset their permissions.

As for reinstalling programs and such, it is probably okay to just continue using those that work as is without reinstalling them and only reinstall those that require it. However, given the unfortunate circumstances and the possibility of nagging conflicts throughout the system, I would probably just back up all my data files then wipe the disk and start all over... :(

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Postby dodecahedron on Tue Dec 02, 2003 3:00 am

first of all, thanks for answering guys.

Wolo wrote:Have you tried granting yourself permissions on the folder? I'm not sure if the system will let you, but it's worth a try:

In Windows Explorer, right-click on the problematic folder and choose Properties.
Click the Security tab and look for your new user account in the list of groups/users.
If it's not listed, click the Add button and then type the fully-qualified username (computername\username) and hit enter.
Once it's listed, highlight it and click the Allow box under Full Control.

Try to access the folder.

If you have problems, you might have to "take ownership" of the entire folder, first. Give this a try:

In Windows Explorer, right-click on the problematic folder and choose Properties.
Click the Security tab and then click Advanced.
Click the Owner tab.
Hopefully, you'll see your new Administator account listed in the selection box! If so, highlight the account, check the "Replace owner on sucontainers and objects".
Click Apply.

From this point, you should be able to go back and modify the permissions on the folder.

only problem is that when i right-click->properties, i don't have a Security tab!!!
i'm 100% sure i've seen this issue discussed in these forums before, and information posted on how to "fix" things to "make the Security tab appear". possibly (i'm not sure i remember rightly though) by you, wolo. but i couldn't find this info. (and can't search anymore now, gotta run to work...i'll try some more searching later). if anyone knows how to do this please post the instructions here.

robertb wrote:Here is something else maybe to try
I'm still scratching around with Windows 98 first edition but on the few times that I experimented with XP I noticed that if you type "command" after start/run you can perhaps steer your way towards the mydocu~1 folder and see if it is still there and if anything is in it.
Also another thought what about booting up using an emegency floppy boot disk (I found my old Windows 98 disk works for XP ) and at the dos prompt you can again steer your way to the my documents folder and see if there is anything in it and if you can access it.Since you are operating outside XP I guess it cannot stop your access.
If for example the properties on the folder are marked hidden you could also change the properties of the folder from the dos prompt ( I think the command is Attrib.exe ..or something like that) which would be on your floppy boot disk.
Now if you are in dos and you can access my documents folder then there are a few utilities such as Norton ghost which would enable you to copy the contents of your My documents folder to another computer or to your CD RW drive from dos mode.
Also maybe I missed the thread somewhere but I keep wondering why it is E:\ drive. Is all your old Xp setup still on the E:\ drive and the new setup on the C:\ drive ?

in the MSDOS prompt (Start->Run->command) i can cd into E:\Docume~1 and see the dirctories there, one of them is the oldusername. but if i try to cd into it i get "Invalid directory". can't get into it.
i'm afraid to use attrib.exe because i don't know it and afraid to mess stuff up...maybe i will try.

before the mess-up i had:
primary master 1st partition: C NTFS Win2K (not in use)
primary master 2nd partition: D NTFS WinXP
secondary: 2 optical drivers E, F
primary slave: FAT32, G (backups & stuff)

when windows re-installed it changed the drive letters, for some reason it gave the first drive letter C to the primary slave FAT32 volume, and the 2 NTF volumes on primary master got bumped to D and E.
so E is my WinXP partition.

OK gotta run now
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One Ring to bring them all and in the darkness bind them
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Postby cfitz on Tue Dec 02, 2003 3:59 am

dodecahedron wrote:only problem is that when i right-click->properties, i don't have a Security tab!!!
i'm 100% sure i've seen this issue discussed in these forums before, and information posted on how to "fix" things to "make the Security tab appear". possibly (i'm not sure i remember rightly though) by you, wolo. but i couldn't find this info. (and can't search anymore now, gotta run to work...i'll try some more searching later). if anyone knows how to do this please post the instructions here.

Here and here. Note that this applies to XP Pro. I'm not sure how to do it for XP Home, since it doesn't allow you to turn off Simple File Sharing in XP Home.

dodecahedron wrote:before the mess-up i had:
primary master 1st partition: C NTFS Win2K (not in use)
primary master 2nd partition: D NTFS WinXP
secondary: 2 optical drivers E, F
primary slave: FAT32, G (backups & stuff)

Don't you mean:
before the mess-up i had:
primary primary 1st partition: C NTFS Win2K (not in use)
primary primary 2nd partition: D NTFS WinXP
secondary: 2 optical drivers E, F
primary secondary: FAT32, G (backups & stuff)
:wink:
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Postby cfitz on Tue Dec 02, 2003 4:04 am

Here is how to do it if you are running XP Home (and also XP Pro, but that was already covered).

They mention in the instructions that you will have to start in safe mode. To do that, hold down the F8 key while starting.

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Postby Han on Tue Dec 02, 2003 5:01 am

In cases like this recovery tools like Administrator's Pak come handy.
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Postby integspec on Tue Dec 02, 2003 6:35 am

As suggested, Winternals Admin Pack 4.1 is a good choice. But AFAIK they don't give out evals. Do you have access to any Ontrack Utils?

Also if you have you can try Undelete from Executive Software.

Is your PM functional anyway? ;)

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Postby UALOneKPlus on Tue Dec 02, 2003 6:42 am

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Postby dodecahedron on Tue Dec 02, 2003 8:13 am

OK got back home from work.
first of all thanks again to everyone who's helped out.

tried one more thing - booted into the Win2K OS on the D volume (as Administrator), no luck same error, everything exactly the same.

cfitz wrote:Here and here. Note that this applies to XP Pro. I'm not sure how to do it for XP Home, since it doesn't allow you to turn off Simple File Sharing in XP Home.
cfitz wrote:Here is how to do it if you are running XP Home (and also XP Pro, but that was already covered).

thank you very much for links to the 3 KB aritcles (gotta admit didn't understand everything...damn it's complicated, or at least it isn't explained very clearly...probably hard to explain it clearly though). never had to mess with permissions before or owenerships.
interesting reading anyways...

also, i might add, the first 2 links are for Pro and Home both (instructions are different though) and that the 3rd link contains info not mentioned in the first 2.

i use XP Pro not Home.

anyway, i disabled the Siplified Sharing and got the Security tab.
right clicked on the oldusername folder, both Administrators group and newuser had full permissions!
clicked Advanced and went to the Owner tab, the owner was Adminstrators group!
changed to to newuser and back to Administrators group, not change!

what worked in the end (from 3rd KB article): when changing ownership from Administrators to Administrators i checked the "Replace owner on subdirectories and objects" checkbox. that did it!

THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU !!!
:D :D :D :P :P :D :D :D :P :P :D :D :D :P :P

now i have access to all of the olduser's My Documents, everything seems to be OK.

yes, the first of these 2 links is what i had remembered (mentioned in my reply to wolo). i don't need the links anymore, but thanks nonetheless.

and there
cfitz wrote:...check the "Replace owner on subcontainers and objects" checkbox, and then press "OK".
exactly what i had needed! thanks again cfitz even though i got this from the KB you linked to.
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Postby UALOneKPlus on Tue Dec 02, 2003 8:17 am

Another satisfied customer!!! :lol:

dodecahedron wrote:...
THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU !!!
:D :D :D :P :P :D :D :D :P :P :D :D :D :P :P

...
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Postby dodecahedron on Tue Dec 02, 2003 8:19 am

damn right! :D

whenever you guys are in my neighborhood, drop by for a hot pizza and a cold beer! 8)
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Postby Han on Tue Dec 02, 2003 8:21 am

And a lucky one, too. :wink:
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Postby dodecahedron on Tue Dec 02, 2003 8:25 am

cfitz wrote:Wolo has given you the answer, I think, particularly the need to take ownership before being able to access the files/folders and reset their permissions.

yeah, that turned out to be it in the end!
good job, cfitz! :D

OK another issue over this debacle:
cfitz wrote:As for reinstalling programs and such, it is probably okay to just continue using those that work as is without reinstalling them and only reinstall those that require it. However, given the unfortunate circumstances and the possibility of nagging conflicts throughout the system, I would probably just back up all my data files then wipe the disk and start all over... :(

the only programs i need working are Nero and/or burnatonce, WinRAR and CDCheck. using these i want to back up ALL my data to CDRs and do another, proper fresh install!
so you think i can trust Nero, even though the registry got wiped? OK there are some entries there in HKLM\Software\Ahead, but i assume those were created when i ran Nero after the reinstall. all the rest of the registry stuff Nero sets up when it installs is (i suppose) gone.

i think i might just play it safe, delete the Program Files/Ahead folder and reinstall Nero and WinRAR (CDCheck works without installation).
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Postby dodecahedron on Tue Dec 02, 2003 8:30 am

Han wrote:And a lucky one, too. :wink:

yeah, that too.
my luck is not only in managing to recover My Documents (i did have a backup a week or so old, so it wasn't a total catastrophy even if i hadn't), but also in not having all 3 partitions (on both master and slave drives) destroyed by the 4in1 4.50. <shudder>.
[that has happened to quite a few people, things are rather heated up at viaarena forums (link in the first post on this topic).]

well, at least i think so, now i'll go over all my stuff and compare with the week old backup to to slave drive and also to older backups on CD and hope all's well.
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Postby dodecahedron on Tue Dec 02, 2003 8:35 am

another question:

what is a "low level format" of a hard drive?
what's the difference between a low level and a regular format?
what's preferable?

how do i do a low level format?
and for that matter how do i do a regular format?
the only formattig of a hard drive i've ever done was with a Win98 boot disk, format.exe command.

is there any difference between formatting and partitioning with format and fdisk from a Win98 boot disk to doing it from withing the WinXP installer interface?
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Postby Han on Tue Dec 02, 2003 9:17 am

True low level format of a hard drive is done only once, at the end of manufacture process, where the appropriate structure of the magnetic surface on the plates is acomplished.

To do a "low level format", you need a special program, provided by a manufacturer. Usually you can download it from their support site. This program erases all partitions and data...

In your case I think "low level format" is preferable, since you've messed up your disk, especially partitions.

You should use WinXP format utility exclusively on large hard drives (32 GB and more). FDISK is obsolete, could cause troubles...
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Postby treemana on Tue Dec 02, 2003 9:58 am

dodecahedron, glad to hear you're up and running again.

I once had a similar problem after re-installing WinXP. (Couldn't find my old documents, etc.) But, after finding my old "documents" directory, I did NOT have the permissions problem that you did. So, I just copied from the old docs directory to the new one.

I concur with Hans advice, except that I'd try the "normal" repartitioning/formating via the XP installer, before going the low-level option.

(Baby-steps)

Good luck.
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repartitioning and backing up

Postby robertb on Tue Dec 02, 2003 4:47 pm

As a regular drive destroyer I have used utilities from Seagate , Maxtor, and Western Digital all freely downloadable but generally each of these only want to work on their own brand of drive. Usually the utilities are all able to perform a fast format or full format of a hard drive or partition.They are all good on their own brand of drives.
I know there are utilities to fill the whole partion with zeros and permanently wipe all trace since just formatting a partion does not do this. In fact you can format a partion and then unformat it and get the data back. If you fill it with zeros it is well and truly gone. In your case presumably a simple quick format is all that is required.
FDISK from a boot disk you have to avoid to do the formatting. It almost does the same job but I think earlier version couldn't see a hard drive over 30GB. Anyway you are running NTFS on your XP partition and I don't think FDISK can even see NTFS.
One regularly forgotten backup is your e-mail accounts-adresses and your internet favoutites. Lately I use one utility or another to make an image of the whole partition and store the file on another partition. The image can always be opened up and viewed later just in case of that one darned item you forgot to back up.
If the XP PRO CD is put in your CD drive and the computer is restarted you should be able to run a format-NTFS and re-installXP to your E drive.Make double sure you have the letters right and even give them a name so there is no confusion.
You probably know the above but I have used a lot of your tips on this board so hope there is something useful in there in return.
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Postby cfitz on Tue Dec 02, 2003 6:04 pm

I wouldn't bother with a low-level format either. You didn't do any damage to your drive, you just wrote bad data. As robertb says, just back up everything you need, then use the built-in NTFS formatting utility that is part of the XP installation.

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Postby integspec on Wed Dec 03, 2003 1:17 am

Low level formatting is only required when you have genuine concern that something is physically wrong with the drive. Running the Computer Management snapin, Disk Management in Control Panel, you can do a normal format of the partitions or the drive. Aviod quick format so the full format could be done and surface is checked thoroughly. If you are a 7200 RPM drive this shouldn't take long regardless of the capacity.

Another good idea would be to aviod usage of security tab in your pc unless you have a compelling need for security (at least in you home pc).

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Postby dodecahedron on Wed Dec 03, 2003 3:01 am

well, i want a really fresh start, so though of doing a low-level format.
i understand from your replies that it's not necessary, but question: is it undesireable? are there any negatives to doing a low level format?
(that's assuming i find the utility to do it on the web. my drive is IBM GXP now supported by Hitachi).

integspec wrote:Running the Computer Management snapin, Disk Management in Control Panel, you can do a normal format of the partitions or the drive.

as for formatting from within Windows (computer management), i can't format the partition currently used by the OS, right? so how would i format it except for the formatting/partitioning utility inside the WinXP installer?

incidentally: in Computer Management -> Disk Management i have 2 disks: D: NTFS Healthy (System) and E: NTFS Healthy (Boot).
i can uderstand the it won't let me format E that's the OS partition. but why won't it let me format D:? this is a Win2K partition but not the boot partition, and if i right-click the "format" option is greyed out.
it will only give me the option to format the FAT32 partition (on a separate hard drive - primary slave).

Han wrote:You should use WinXP format utility exclusively on large hard drives (32 GB and more). FDISK is obsolete, could cause troubles...
robertb wrote:FDISK from a boot disk you have to avoid to do the formatting. It almost does the same job but I think earlier version couldn't see a hard drive over 30GB. Anyway you are running NTFS on your XP partition and I don't think FDISK can even see NTFS.
...
If the XP PRO CD is put in your CD drive and the computer is restarted you should be able to run a format-NTFS and re-installXP to your E drive.Make double sure you have the letters right and even give them a name so there is no confusion.

another question:
i want to do a dual-format: Win98 and WinXP.
from what i've learned, i should first format, partition with fdisk - make 1 partition for the Win98 OS and leave the rest of the HD unpartitioned, then install Win98 in that partition. then run the WinXP installer and i can partition the rest of the HD (the unpartitioned part from fdisk), format and install WinXP there.
does that sound like the right way to go about it or am i doing something wrong? or is there a better way to go about it?
does it matter that i'll first format/partition with fdisk (for the Win98) and then use the rest of the drive for WinXP? or is there some way to format/partition with the WinXP installer, then go back install Win98 and then again to WinXP isntaller to install WinXP?

suggestions/explanations welcome! :)
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Postby Han on Wed Dec 03, 2003 5:24 am

Since you have an IBM/Hitachi hard drive, I would go for "low level format". Download Drive Fitness Test and do the complete ERASE... I would also test the drive for errors.

I haven't done a fresh install of Windows systems for over a year when I bought a new hard drive. If I remember correctly, I've partitioned it thru WinXP, then exited the setup (F3), formatted C: with Win98 format, installed Win98, and lastly installed WinXP on D:NTFS.

You can partition C: with FDISK, but make sure you have the latest available version from MS...
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Postby integspec on Wed Dec 03, 2003 5:57 am

First: Maybe you can't format the Win2k Parition becuase system is having a page file in it. (Way to verify in XP: System, Advanced, Performance Settings, Advanced, Virtual Memory, Change and see a paging file is assigned in the partition).

In a nutshell, if you delete all paritions and do a full format instead of a quick one, It could be considered as a sufficient way to check for any irregularities in the HDD and also as a fresh start. However, Hans suggestion of Drive Fitness test program is a good one.

I'm not dualbooting anymore but here is what I used to do:
Create a bootdisk from Win98 and copy format.com
Fdisk and create 1 partition in primaster for about 8 GB (YMMV)
Format the paritition 1 for FAT 32
Install Win98.

Boot up with XP CD and create one more secondary partitions, format it the way you wish and install XP to it. After XP boots, create other paritions and format them from Disk management snap in.

Here is a bootdisk image:
http://files.frashii.com/~bootdisk/bootmec.exe

I'm sure you are aware that Win98 should be in C: and it has to be on Fat32 or lower. Also it cannot access NTFS if you have any paritions in that format.

I would highly recommending using Fdisk for MS (and fdisk also for Linux) instead of OEM Ontrack HDD formatter from the drive manufacturer. Fdisk is built for the relevant OS and it makes things less complicated.
Stone walls do not a prison make,
Nor iron bars a cage;
Minds innocent and quiet take
That for an hermitage;
If I have freedom in my love,
And in my soul am free,
Angels alone that soar above
Enjoy such liberty. - Richard Lovelace
integspec
CD-RW Player
 
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Joined: Thu Dec 19, 2002 8:57 pm

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